Road conditions in West and Central Africa
I travelled (yes, by motorbike) in 2009/10 through west and central africa, from north to south. I summarize here my experiences with road conditions at that time. Pay attention to "at that time" because road conditions can change very rapidly. Before I left I gathered information about the roads from the Hubb. It turned out that road sections which were indicated as "good" were quite bad while "bad" sections were suprisingly good, mainly thanks to the Chinese who did some work. Keep also in mind that I travelled during the dry season.
Mauritania (oct. 2009) Nouadhibou - Nouakchott:- Ayoun al Outros - Nioro De Sahel (Mali):
- good paved roads, with the exception of the road in no-mans land between Morocco and Mauritania which is a track. Along the road from Nouakchott to Ayoun, between Boutilimit and Kifane, fuel is only at the black market.
Mali (nov. 2009) Nioro de Sahel - Bamako - Segou – Mopti – Ouahigoua (Burkina Fasso):
- good paved roads, but east of Mopti, in the direction of Gao pavement in moderate condition, potholes, road construction works
- Mopti – Ouahigoua (Burkina Fasso): in Dogon area the road is paved, after that till the border with Burkina unpaved but in good condition, after the border till Ouahigoua partly paved, in moderate contion
Burkina Fasso (nov. 2009) Ouahigoua – Bobo Diolasso – Ouagadougou – Paga (Ghana):
- Roads are in good condition, maintained by the French
- Ouahigoua – Bobo Diolasso, direct secondary road: till Dedougou unpaved, gravel, good condition but occasionally corrugated, after Dedougou till Bobo Diolasso paved road
- Bobo Diolasso – Ouagadougou: good paved road, partly road works
- Ouagadougou – Paga (Ghana): good paved road, occasionally some potholes till Po, after Po moderate condition
Mali (dec. 2009) Paga – Bolgatanga – Tamale – Techiman – Kumasi – Cape Coast – Accra – border with Togo:
- Roads are paved and in good condition, apart from the road between Kumasi and Cape Coast (paved but in bad condition). Between Techiman and Kumasi many road works.
- The road From Tamale to Mole National Park is unpaved and can be very corrugated depending on maintenance
Togo & Benin (dec. 2009) Lome – Grand Popo – Lokossa – Abomey – Ketou:
- All roads were in good condition
Nigeria (jan 2009): Abeokuta – Ibadan – Ilorin – Mokwa – Abuja – Jos – Bauchi – Maiduguri – Mora (Cameroon):
- All major roads are paved and in good to moderate condition. The A1, between Ilorin and Mokwa was a nightmare, very congested.
- I had no security problems in Nigeria but when I was in Jos there was heavy fighting between Christians and Moslims.
Cameroon (feb. 2010) Mora – Maroua – Garoua – Ngaoundere – Garoua Boulaii – Youande – Bitam (Gabon):
- From the Nigerian border till Mora (about 35 km): unpaved, potholes.
- Mora – Maroua – Garoua – Ngaoundere: all paved and in good condition. The roads in the touristic region of Rhumsiki (east of Maroua) are unpaved and difficult to drive.
- Ngaoundere – Garoua Boulaii (200 km): unpaved, very bad, deep spurs, many big potholes, thick layers of dust on hill slopes, used by trucks. Halfway, at Meinanga is a good hotel.
- Garoua Boulaii – Yaounde: well paved, apart from the section between Bertoua and Abong Mbang which is unpaved but has a hard surface.
- Yaounde – Bitam: paved, good.
Gabon (feb 2010) Bitam – Alembe – Lastoursville – Franceville – Lekoni (border with Congo Brazzaville):
- The road from Bitam to Alembe, in the direction of Libreville, is paved and in good condition. However after Alembe the road to Libreville deteriorates.
- Alembe – Lope National Park: through forest, unpaved, in moderate condition; will be very bad with rain.
- Lope National Park – Lastourville: gravel road, in excellent condition.
- Lastourville – Franceville: unpaved, loam surface, deep spurs and erosion gullies, difficult to drive; will be very bad with rain.
- Franceville – Lekoni: excellent tarmac.
Congo Brazzaville/Kinshassa (feb. 2010) Lekoni – Oyo – Brazzaville – Kinshassa – Songololo:
- Lekoni – Oyo: deep sand, deep spurs, many tracks until Okoyo (140 km); after boundji until Boundji (100 km) deep spurs, sand, mud, occasional flooding and road works; after Boundji the road becomes better (less mud) and from Obouya to Oyo the road is paved
- Oyo – Brazzaville: Tarmac, few potholes.
- Brazzavill – Kinshassa: crossing the Congo river by ferryboat is a hassle but also a life expierence; enjoy it.
- Kinshassa – Songololo: paved, in good condition; this is also the road to Matadi. No security problems.
Angolo (march 2010) Songololo – Mbanza Congo – N’Zeto – Luanda – Benguela – Lubango – Ondjiva – Namibian border:
- Songololo – Mbanza Congo: dirt road, a bit of sand, not too bad
- Mbanza Congo – N’zeto: from Mbanza for 60 km new tarmac (thanks to the Chinese) and then gravel road in good condition
- N’Zeto – Luanda: deep sand, potholes, corrugation, spurs, rests of tarmac for 210 km until Caxito. Took me 12 hours. From Caxito to Luanda is peanuts.
- Luanda – Benguela: tarmac all the way, in good condition, nice for a weekend drive, enjoy it.
- Benguela – Lubango: according to my information this road should give the experience of a battlefield from the first world war but is was excellent tarmac, thanks to the Chinese (again), apart from a small section of 30 km which was not finished but not diffcult to drive.
- Lubango – Ondjiva: the first 200 km till Cahama are paved and in good condition; enjoy it because after Cahama till Xangongo, over 80 km, you get the WO I experience. Loam, deep potholes, rests of tarmac. From Xangongo to Ondjiva is paved again.
- Ondjiva – Namibian border: paved, moderate condition, many potholes.
- Beware: After Cahama till the border (250 km) was no fuel available
Thanks for the effort. This is very helpful.
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